In search of a slogan

Everyone loves a good slogan. Whether it’s a movie tagline like “Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water” or an advertising jingle such as “A Mars A Day Helps You Work, Rest & Play”, nothing sticks in the head like a catchy slogan. I can guarantee that absolutely every Brit reading this blog will have sung the Mars tagline to themselves in the last five seconds, such is the power of a pithily written motto.

Like every good chocolate bar or Hollywood blockbuster, some countries have managed to get in on the motto act with a short sentence that sums up their raison d’etre. Never ones to miss a chance to show off their all round liberalism, the French opted for “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (or ‘liberty, equality and brotherhood’, for the benefit of my Freedom Fry eating friends). Senegal weighs in with “Un peuple, un but, une foi” which sounds great in French, but when translated into its English meaning of ‘One people, one goal, one faith’ starts to sound uncannily like a Queen record. And who can argue with Guatemala’s “Libre Crezca Fecundo”? Or ‘Grow free and fertile’ to you and me.

Of course, America sticks with “In God We Trust”. Which seems a little rich given that they won’t even give me Good Friday off work. Maybe they should consider some kind of addendum such as “In God* We Trust (*Other gods are available)”? Their Latin motto of “E pluribus unum” (‘out of many, one’) is a little more melting-pot friendly perhaps, although rumours that the slogan refers to the number of accepted votes for Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 presidential election could not be confirmed at time of going to press.

The British were seemingly too busy with colonising the rest of the world to bother particularly with a motto, and by the time that they got around to it, all the good ones had already gone so they decided not to bother. Sure, the royals attempt to insist on “Dieu et mon droit” (or ‘God and my right’) but given that it makes precious little sense, I think most people would be just as happy with “Britain: Finger Lickin’ Good”.

Apparently Gordon Brown has launched some kind of task force to attempt to find a motto for the UK, having clearly decided that the issues of health, education and crime are nothing like as important as finding a catchphrase to put on our tourist literature. Given that he seems willing to put it to a popular vote, we’ll probably end up with something along the lines of “The UK is like well skill, LOL!! ROFL LMAO!!!”

After going to a sushi place today to grab some lunch, and finding that it has shut down about six weeks after it opened, I reckon that America should probably change its motto to “Nothing Lasts Forever”. I’ve had trips to the toilet that have lasted longer than some restaurants in this city.

8 thoughts on “In search of a slogan

  1. Nat

    I can’t believe that Gordon Brown has set up a task force to find a motto. He just keeps thinking up better ways to waste public money!

    I could think of a few mottoes myself… but none that could be repeated in polite society.

  2. Paul Sheffrin

    My favo(u)rites were on the BBC website and included:
    “Unity in individuality”
    “Mustn’t grumble”
    “Smile! You’re on CCTV”

    Some others from the Times offering were:
    “In America we trust”
    “At least we’re not French”
    “Land of yobs and morons”
    “Wallowing in a post-colonial miasma”
    “Once mighty empire, slightly used”
    “Drinking continues until morale improves”
    “Our glass is half empty”
    “Fat, rude arrogant, racist, selfish”
    “Sorry it’s all our fault”
    “We apologise for the inconvenience”
    “No balls, nerve or glory”

    It’s good to see that national pride continues to flourish

  3. Brooklyn

    “I’ve had trips to the toilet that have lasted longer than some restaurants in this city.”

    I’ve never seen a restaurant last less than one month, even here.

    Perhaps a visit to the doctor is in order? That is, unless the “trips” were for reading and peaceful contemplation.

  4. Sarah

    LOL Dylan, yep you’re right I was singing to myself! The Ad over here that has me singing is the Advantix Flea one with the cute puppy “Oh there ain’t no bugs on me, there ain’t no bugs on me, there might be bugs on some of you mugs, but there ain’t no bugs on me”….HOW embarressing!

    I think we do have a motto in England though!…ENGER-LAND, ENGER-LAND, ENGER-LAND

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